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October 4, 2005
  • Puerto Plata Jazz Festival schedule
  • Flights from Houston
  • Internet to become prime booking tool
  • Community first in new tourism
  • Joining farm and tourism
Puerto Plata Jazz Festival schedule
The organizing committee of the 7th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival is announcing some changes in the program for the 20-22 October event. The Thursday, 20 October opening will now take place indoors at the Cibao Theater in Santiago de los Caballeros, about half an hour's drive from Puerto Plata. Scheduled to appear for the opening evening is Sandy Gabriel & Puerto Plata Jazz Ensemble and contemporary jazz maestro Gonzalo Rubalcaba (USA). Ticket prices are: RD$300.
The event continues with a Friday, 21 October performance at Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata. TES A T (DR), Ari Hoenig (USA), Bellita y Jazz Tumbata (Cuba) will be performing and admission to this concert is free.
The closing evening is on Saturday, 22 October at Sosua's Amhsa Casa Marina hotel amphitheater. Performing are the great jazz maestro Chucho Valdes (Cuba) and Ramon Vazquez Trio (Puerto Rico).
For more information, see http://www.drjazzfestival.com
Flights from Houston
Continental Airlines begin a twice-weekly service between George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on 16 December, pending government approval. The new route will complement Continental's existing service to Punta Cana from Newark Liberty International Airport.
The new flight will depart from Houston at 1:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, arriving in Punta Cana at 7:35 pm. The return flight will leave Punta Cana at 9:10 am Saturdays and Sundays, arriving in Houston at 12 noon. The flight schedule is timed conveniently to allow for one-stop daylight connections from the Midwest and West Coast.
Internet to become prime booking tool
There is a significant change in the way consumers are booking travel, according to a VisitUSA in-flight survey of travelers to the US, just released by the US Department of Commerce. The survey predicts that the Internet will overtake agents and operators for booking travel in as little as two or three years time.
A poll of more than 4,000 travelers from the UK to the US showed that agents and operators accounted for a high of 88% of bookings in 1998 but this had declined to 50% by 2004.
"If current trends are maintained [the Internet] will overtake agents/operators in two to three years," according to the VisitUSA group, as reported in the Travelmole website. The results of the survey show that the Internet is poised to become the primary source of travel information.
http://www.travelmole.com/stories/105120.php?m_id=480189&mpnlog=1
Community first in new tourism
The secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace set the tone for the new positioning of the region at the Agro-Tourism Workshop held in St. Kitts from 3-5 October. He urged the region to stop head-counting as a measure of success, and instead adopt new ways that truly reflect whether progress is being made. He highlighted that foreign exchange generation, employment, distribution of income and linkages within the country are more important.
Vanderpool-Wallace emphasized community tourism. "If you are not involving the local people in tourism, you are going to fail," he warned. He advocated the need to bring the community in, with a new emphasis "first on the people that live in the area, next on the investors, and last on the tourists."
Vanderpool-Wallace stressed that tourism needs to begin with the people who live in each country.
"If you always do what you always do, you will always get what you always got," he said, highlighting that the time has come for change.
He emphasized that CTO and the Caribbean Hotel Association want to own the Caribbean brand, which he described as the "best known un-owned brand." He urged the need to come forth with a one program and one united Caribbean. He mentioned that CTO would seek to make it their business that the best practices among members be known, regardless of whether they are being implemented by government or the private sector.
He urged for the Caribbean to go Caribbean. Vanderpool-Wallace said that apples and pears in gift fruit baskets need to replaced with more Caribbean fruits, with a note explaining the more exotic fruits. He stressed a new push for "fresh from the Caribbean" and the need to identify things that are fresh and produced in the Caribbean.
Caribbean Tourism Organization is preparing its 28th Caribbean Tourism Conference for St. Thomas from 21-26 October. See http://www.onecaribbean.org
Vanderpool-Wallace said he would be traveling to the Dominican Republic for a sustainable tourism conference in December.
Joining farm and tourism
Ena Harvey called for more integration between the farming sector and tourism. "Tourism is the only market that pays to come to us," she said at the opening of the Agri Tourism Conference in St. Kitts. She highlighted that a recent World Travel Market survey of British tourists showed that 62% of travelers shunned glamorous foreign restaurants and want authentic experience with real people. She added that food tourism would follow in the footsteps of the development and popularizing of ecotourism throughout the world.
Samuel Powell of Nevis spoke of farmers' integration with the Four Seasons hotel in Nevis and Eustace Vitalis of Sandals in St. Lucia for the benefit of both community and tourists. Their success has led to more diversification for farmers.
Rosemary Parkinson, author of Culinaria Caribbean book, highlighted that Caribbean cuisine is in fashion in the United States, but taken for granted in the Caribbean, where world cuisines are served to tourists. She advocated that efforts be made to encourage food suppliers to airlines to develop Caribbean food meals to be served on board planes traveling to the Caribbean.
Harvey said that the focus needs to be on integrating local communities to food tourism. She highlighted that carnival works because it is the people's festival. Carnival, she said, was an event where "we tell the tourists to come and join us".
Denzel Phillips stressed that agrotourism is a new paradigm for the Caribbean. He said that there was a need to make farmers into hoteliers; fishermen into cruise operators; forest wardens into tourist guides; processing plants into museums; research centers into business; and gardens into learning and entertainment centers. Foremost he said there is a need to turn tourists into farmers. Phillips urged the Caribbean to join the trend towards herbal tourism that requires a new way of thinking.

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